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Coast Guard District narrative histories 1945
Diagram of new system of laterally restricted channels used in upper Columbia River.
The construction of Grand Coulee Dam which created Roosevelt Lake, extending almost two-hundred miles from Mason City, Oregon to the Canadian Border, also placed additional work on the Aide to Navigation Section. The Law Officer in March, 1944, advised that Roosevelt Lake was navigable; and after an investigation the Aids to Navigation Officer installed 27 lights and 10 reflectors in those waters. The aids are serviced at the Seattle Operating Base twice a year, and the Bureau of Reclamation offered the use of one of its boats for establishing and maintaining these aids.
ANRAC ??? EQUIPMENT
The enforcement of blackout in the United States at the outbreak of the war made it necessary to extinguish or silence the navigational aids in the continental waters in addition to the blackout of municipal lights. To perform this action by manual
labor consumed far too much valuable time, and so it became expedient that there be a swifter method. By 1942, Headquarters developed a radio control system for aids to navigation intended primarily for blacking out unattended lighted aids by means of radio signal. The system was designated by the coined word "RACAN" which was later changed to ANRAC to avoid confusion with RADAR beacons or RACONS.
After a thorough study of the use of ANRAC, the District Coast Guard Officer, 13th Naval District, requested Headquarters' authority to install the equipment with the Cape Disappointment Light Station as the control unit for the radio extinguishing of ten buoys in the lower Columbia River. Because of the delay in the delivery of ANRAC equipment, it was not until March, 1944 that the first two ANRAC equipped buoys were placed on station. All maintenance and repair work for this installation of special buoy equipment was handled at the Tongue Point Repair Base, Tongue Point, Oregon. Later at the request of the Commandant, 13th Naval District, the District Coast Guard Officer requested that ANRAC controlled buoys be placed in the Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay areas. Headquarters authorized these installations, but later experiments with ANRAC did not prove satisfactory and permission was requested of Headquarters to discontinue this type of equipment. This request to remove ANRAC equipment from the Columbia River, Grays Harbor, and Willapa Bay was finally approved.
Early in 1943, the Navy had decided to install RACONS on Coast Guard Light Stations at Cape Arago, Cape Blanco, Heceta Head, and Yaquina Head in Oregon. Sixteen Coast Guardsmen were schooled in the operation and maintenance of RACON equipment at a one week training course at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, a short time before the installations were completed. By the end of May, 1943, RACONS were in operation at the above Coast Guard units as well as at the Port Angeles Air Station and the Cape Flattery Light Station.
At the beginning of 1944, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the transfer of all Navy "pulse" equipment to the Coast Guard for operation and maintenance. The first RACON station to be transferred was the installation at Tillamook Naval Air Station which was assumed by the Coast Guard on 1 May, 1945. The stations at Shelton, Quillayute, Whidby Island, and Seattle in the state of Washington, and Astoria, and Oceanside in Oregon were transferred to the Coast Guard. Other RACON units were established subsequently in the 13th Naval District. At the conclusion of the war, various Auxiliary Stations were discontinued and the RACON stations at each were placed in caretaker status.
I LIGHT STATIONS 1 II LIGHTSHIPS 14 III RADIOBEACONS 18 IV UPPER COLUMBIA RIVER 25 V BLACKOUT 39 VI ANRAC 45 VII SPECIAL BUOYS 51 VIII RACON-LORAN 56 IX LOCAL NOTICES TO MARINERS 68 X BUOY CARD FILE SYSTEM 69 XI TENDERS 75 XII STANDARDIZATION OF MINOR AIDS 80 XIII PERSONNEL OF AIDS TO NAVIGATION SECTION 83 XIV CHAPTER NOTES 1,11
The enforcement of blackout in the United States at the outbreak of the war necessitated that, in addition to the blackout of municipal lights, the navigational aids in continental waters had also to be extinguished or silenced. (See blackout). To perform this action by manual labor consumed far too much valuable time and so it became expedient that a more swift method be devised. By 1942, Headquarters developed a radio control system for aids to navigation intended primarily for blacking out unattended lighted aids by means of radio signal. This system consisted of a control station transmitting specially coded ultra high frequency signals with a special receiver mounted on the buoys or other aids which responded to code signals and operated relays of gas valves to extinguish or relight gas lights or to turn off or on other types of aids. The system was designated by the coined word "RACAN" which was later changed to ANRAC to avoid confusion with RADAR beacons or RACONS.
The receiving control, in combination with an electric relay, was used to operate an electric bell signal to notify light keepers at outlying stations, lamplighters or buoy patrols that aids were to be extinguished. Such installations at certain visual vantage points permitted the person notified to observe the extinguishment procedure and to take the necessary action in those cases where receiving equipment proved faulty. This system of notification was considered as a means of relieving commercial communications facilities and was carefully planned in order to avoid serious results in case of testing operations. Weekly operational tests were made and all failures were reported in detail to Headquarters.
A transmitter and a keying unit were required for each control station, together with an emergency standby. A single control transmitter operated all receiving controls within its working radius of approximately 7 miles even though it was not within visual range of the receiving station. (The working radius of the control transmitter beyond its visual range depended on the size and nature of the obstruction; ordinary obstacles did not materially affect the working radius of a control transmitter.)
After a thorough study of the use of ANRAC, the District Coast Guard Officer, 13th Naval District, requested Headquarters' authority to install the equipment with Cape Disappointment Light Station as the control unit and the following buoys to be equipped with receivers:
Columbia River Outside Bar Ltd.Bell Buoy Main Channel Lighted Whistle Buoy 2 Clatsop Spit Lighted Whistle Buoy 6 Peacock Spit Lighted Bell Buoy 7 Clatsop Spit Lighted Whistle Buoy 10 Clatsop Spit Lighted Whistle Buoy 10A Peacock Spit Lighted Bell Buoy 9 Clatsop Spit Lighted Whistle Buoy 12 Clatsop Spit Lighted Whistle Buoy 14 Desdemona Sands Lighted Bell Buoy 11
It took approximately eight months for the delivery of the major ANRAC items to the District and it was not until March, 1944, that the first two ANRAC equipped buoys were placed on station. All maintenance and repair work for this initial installation of special buoy equipment was handled at the Tongue Point Repair Base. Maintenance personnel from this yard kept a running record sheet of both buoys together with a battery record for which a new calendar marking system was adopted. The ANRAC equipped buoys were placed on station in accordance with the normal buoy replacement schedule and for this reason, although other buoys were equipped with the ANRAC receivers at that time, they were not set out.
In the meantime, the Commandant, 13th Naval District, had ordered the relighting of buoys in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay Areas which had been blacked out for security. This action was necessary to facilitate the movement of marine traffic related to the war effort. On the other hand, experience had demonstrated that certain hazards to defense activities were created by the inability to black out lights promptly. Since the lights in this area might have been of inestimable value to hostile craft, and, in order to circumvent any such use being made of the lights, it appeared necessary that arrangements be made for their blacking out expeditiously. Experience had further demonstrated the impracticability of getting the lights extinguished in any kind of reasonable time, except for shooting them out. In one test case, it was a matter of five days before some of the buoys could be approached without the possibility of seriously damaging a boat or buoy or injuring personnel. For these reasons, the District Coast Guard Officer requested Headquarters to install ANRAC on the following lights where other means could not be utilized to obtain reasonable prompt extinguishment:
Grays Harbor Lighted Whistle Buoy 1 Grays Harbor North Bar Lighted Whistle Buoy NC Grays Harbor Outside Bar Ltd. Whistle Buoy GH Willapa Bay Lighted Whistle Buoy 1 WIllapa Bay Lighted Whistle Buoy 12 Willapa Bay Lighted Bell Buoy 14 Willapa Bay Lighted Bell Buoy 18
Headquarters approved the Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay Project, but, the equipment was held up until the middle of 1944. (The buoys were meanwhile equipped with brackets so that installation could be completed shortly after receipt of the transmitters.) Headquarters also indicated at that time that ANRAC installations, other than Columbia Bar, had not been anticipated for the 13th Naval District and that since ANRAC had been developed principally because of potential hostile air attacks, it was to be applied only to those unattended lights on floating and fixed aids which were grouped to form patterns giving lines of orientation. It was not to be applied to relight or control lights of comparatively low intensity which were not readily recognizable to locate strategic areas or indicate definite bearings. Headquarters advised that further requests for ANRAC installations would not be favorably received.
By early 1944, blackout requirements in certain areas were materially reduced but no indication existed that such restrictions might not again be imposed. It was, therefore, desirable to continue the ANRAC program. The Coast Guard investment in ANRAC represented a considerable amount and a fair test of ANRAC in localities adjacent to better service facilities was necessary, in any case, to accomplish the ANRAC program as planned and to prove the equipment for use in remote areas where need for same continued to exist. Headquarters realized the difficulties encountered in pursuing the program due to shortage of servicing facilities but it desired that the ANRAC program be brought to a logical conclusion. ANRAC installations were modified only to the extent that aids of lesser importance were ANRAC equipped and field tested before the program was extended to include all aids in the original plan. Sufficient aids of lesser importance were field tested to determine the effectiveness of ANRAC under varying conditions. Daily preliminary tests of ANRAC equipment on the Columbia River bar buoys indicated that their performance was entirely satisfactory. However, due to the fact that there was probably less that 5% of the time in the fall of the year and continuing through the winter that all of the controlled buoys could be seen from Cape Disappointment, it appeared that a questionable situation would be created by extinguishing the lights on these buoys
daily and then having no assurance that relighting was accomplished. In order to verify the conditions that existed in connection with this situation, visibility tests were made on all ten buoys twice each day without the use of control equipment. A tabulation sheet showing all ten controlled buoys, the date and hour, an indication of each buoy light that was visible before 0800 and after 1200 each day was submitted to the District Coast Guard Office weekly. In 3920 observations, lights were visible by telescope from Cape Disappointment Lookout Station only 2900 times. This figure included all ten buoys listed on the previous page, during period from 17 July, 1944, to 12 February, 1945, at which time the visibility tests were discontinued.
By November, 1944, Headquarters became interested in the peace time value of ANRAC and requested that the District Coast Guard Officer prepare a list of such locations in the 13th Naval District where ANRAC could be used for peace time operation. The major complicated features (essential for security) were to be simplified to meet peace time application to unattended radiobeacons or fog signals where maintenance by an operating crew and expenses related thereto presented objectionable difficulties. In response, the District Coast Guard Office listed five fog signals near the mouth of the Columbia River within a three mile radius from Point Adams Lifeboat Station, Hammond, Oregon, and the fog signals at Tacoma Waterway, Milwaukie Shoal and Point Defiance all within a radius of 4 1/2 miles of Browns Point Light near Tacoma, Washington. However, the District Coast Guard Officer did not feel that ANRAC control of shore lights during peace time would have any advantage over the sun relays currently installed due to the higher cost and a greater possibility for human error.
Headquarters was requested, since the war time ANRAC program had proved unsatisfactory, that authority to discontinue the radio control of the lights on the buoys at the entrance to the Columbia River be granted. Due to the fact
that an outage on any one of these buoys created a difficult situation and also because the necessity for an emergency blackout seemed extremely doubtful, this action seemed practicable. At the same time, it was requested that Headquarters postpone indefinitely the installation of the ANRAC equipment on buoys at the entrance of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor as the equipment had not yet been placed on the buoys due to delay in installing the related control equipment on shore. This action, to remove ANRAC from Columbia River, Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, was approved but the request for the installation of ANRAC on the five fog signals was not. Authority was granted, however, to equip Browns Point Light Station, newar Tacoma, Washington, as a control point for fog signals at Tacoma Waterway, Alki Point, near Seattle, Washington, as control station for Duwamish Head Fog Signal, Point No Point, Hansville, Washington, as control station for Double Bluff Lighted Trumpet Buoy and Point Adams, Hammond, Oregon, as control station for Desdemona Sands Fog Signal. A form No. 2609 for the installation at Duwamish Head was forwarded to Headquarters. No further action was taken by the District Coast Guard Officer on other points approved by Headquarters.
Of all the ingenious war developments which were diverted to peace time use, RACON and LORAN were the two which effected safer navigation for air and surface craft and were, therefore, the concern of the Aids to Navigation Section, both during and after the war.
RACONS (formed by the contraction of RAdar and BeaCON and not to be confused with RACAN, the initial terminology for ANRAC equipment)¹ had been established during the war years at Air Stations or Light Stations (or activities where the need for them was evident) along the coasts of North America, from Greenland to the West Indies, in the Hawaiian Islands and the Canal Zone. Military agencies were the sole users of RACONS until the conclusion of the war, at which time the use of RADAR was permitted to commercial concerns and, consequently, dictated the post war expansion of the RADAR beacon installations. Although many RACONS were discontinued at Air Stations which the Army or the Navy abandoned, more were eventually established along the routes of commercial aircraft.
Both the Army and Navy awaited eagerly the completion of RADAR and, when it was perfected, began installing it, ashore and afloat. It was not, however, until the early months of 1943, that the RACON program reached the Northwest Coast. Early in that year, the Navy had determined to establish RACONS on Coast Guard Light Stations at Cape Arago, Charleston, Oregon, Cape Blanco, Port Orford, Oregon, heceta Head, Florence, Oregon, and Yaquina Head, Agate Beach, Oregon. As the aerial activity in the 13th Naval District had increased rapidly, the RACONS were located at highly important navigational points and were regarded as a responsibility comparable to that of a light or radiobeacon. No additional personnel were required for the RACONS as the equipment itself needed very little attention. Although a continuous watch was necessary, the radio-telephone watch was able to maintain and operated the RACONS without hindrance to their other assigned duties. Sixteen Coast Guardsmen from the above mentioned Light Stations were schooled in operation and maintenance of RACON equipment at the one week training course at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, a short time before the installations were completed.
The installation of these early RACONS was supervised by the Air Officer, Northwest Sea Frontier. All equipment, including the converted power supply and its installation, were supplied through the Radio Material Officer, 13th Naval District. The Coast Guard's responsibility was to assign
RED: OFF STATION, MISSING OR LIGHT EXTINGUISHED When an emergency existed , a red tab was placed on the month in which the emergent condition was reported. When condition was corrected, red tab was removed.
PURPLE: SCHEDULED FOR ACTION When a tender had been assigned to take action on a buoy, a purple tab was placed on the month for whihc action was scheduled.
BLUE/GREEN: RELIEVED THIS YEAR When relief had been made, a blue/green tab was placed on the month relief was made and the purple tab removed.
GREEN/BLUE: RELIEVED LAST YEAR Green/blue indicated the month the buoy was relieved and previous year. (Note: Blue and green tabs alternate each year to indicate the month buoys were relieved.)
ORANGE: DUE FOR RECHARGE THIS YEAR When an aid was relieved, the period of operation of the light was computed and the month due for recharge, if it fell within the current year, was indicated by placing an orange tab on that month.
YELLOW: DUE FOR RECHARGE NEXT YEAR If the month for recharge fell in the next year, a yellow tab was placed on hte month due for recharge.
The following tabs, placed on the left margin of the card, indicated: PURPLE: Buoy light blacked out YELLOW: Buoy equipped with ANRAC cotrol ORANGE: Light characteristc to be changed
FISHING SEASON Various buoys were temporarily discontinued during the fishing season for the convenience of fishermen. This was recorded on Form D-222 (the card file) in the following manner: